Breaking news: Young, unmarried women are easier than ever
I always love being reminded that, if women had their way, we'd marry the first guy we met to ensure we didn't become lonely spinsters. Not men, though -- as this article from Slate points out, guys are getting their way, and their way is sex -- lots of it, and without having to even charm ladies or promise them any kind of commitment. Let's take a look at this article's assertions about heterosexual relationships, dating, and sex, and point out where the article is terribly misinformed, shall we?
1. If women ruled relationships, marriages would be on the rise
It's a good thing the author advises the reader to "call it sexist, call it whatever you want," because his entire article is founded on the idea that men want sex, women want marriage, and any data derived about sex and relationships must be interpreted through this stereotypical and played out lens. Here's the foundation:
But what many young men wish for—access to sex without too many complications or commitments—carries the day. If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we'd be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on.
This is sexist against both men and women -- assuming that men just want sex and women just want marriage. Under this very scientific premise, a drop in marriage rates obviously must mean that men are winning the battle against women, who are always on the attack and trying to cage them and force them into settling down and not having all that random sex.
Perhaps the author failed to realize other causes for the decline in marriage, such as high divorce rates (cautionary tales for young people), people going to college and focusing on a career rather than getting married right out of high school (it's true, women are choosing to delay marriage), women being financially independent (choosing not to be financially dependent on a man), cohabitation, and a decline in religion. So while this author chooses to say that a decline in marriage rates is an obvious sign that men are, to quote Charlie Sheen, "winning," it's more likely that rates are declining because society is changing.
2. Outdated studies from the '70s and '80s speak for today's youth
It's baffling that this guy uses studies from the 1980s and applies those findings to the present -- 30 years later. Thirty years ago, my mom was my age -- the other day, she used the term "necking," and when I told her that young people today would call that "making out," she told me that "making out" was something much different and closer to sex. So maybe using outdated data to back up your thesis is not a great idea?
Here's one example:
In one frequently cited study, attractive young researchers separately approached opposite-sex strangers on Florida State University's campus and proposed casual sex. Three-quarters of the men were game, but not one woman said yes. I know: Women love sex too. But research like this consistently demonstrates that men have a greater and far less discriminating appetite for it.
This study was published in 1989, using data gathered in 1978 and 1982. All this demonstrates is that 30 years ago, men were more likely to sleep with complete strangers than women -- why is sleeping with strangers the measuring stick for sexual appetite?
3. Women are battling pornography for sexual power
According to the author, women -- though having a weak appetite for sex -- should theoretically have power in the sexual relationship because the guy is always ready to go, but he has to wait for the woman to agree. ï»¿But this power is threatened by porn:
And yet despite the fact that women are holding the sexual purse strings, they aren't asking for much in return these days—the market "price" of sex is currently very low. There are several likely reasons for this. One is the spread of pornography: Since high-speed digital porn gives men additional sexual options—more supply for his elevated demand—it takes some measure of price control away from women.
Since when is pornography and masturbating an additional sexual option? Men could masturbate before the digital age, so pornography -- though offering a helpful stimulus -- is simply a masturbation aide. If a guy wants to have actual sex, with an actual vagina, he's likely not going to be as satisfied by doing it alone. I doubt women fear masturbation as a form of retaliation for not putting out enough -- in case you didn't know, women can masturbate, too.
4. The amount of sex you have should be directly correlated to how successful you are in life
The author keeps trying to put forth the idea that sex is a game, and men have the upper hand because, despite being generally less successful than women, they are still having lots of sex:
The terms of contemporary sexual relationships favor men and what they want in relationships, not just despite the fact that what they have to offer has diminished, but in part because of it.
I guess that with fewer men in the workforce, in college, and with their salaries on the decline, the standards are generally going to drop, and women are going to be forced to choose from a dating pool that isn't as successful as it used to be -- this means women are going to have to lower their standards when on the prowl.
Or, could it just mean that women aren't necessarily always prowling for a guy who is rich? Maybe because women are more successful and independent, they know they won't be financially dependent on a man so don't highly prioritize income? Isn't it funny how a man could date a woman who isn't super successful and wouldn't be labeled as "settling," but a woman dates someone less successful than she is and suddenly she's given something up?
5. If you give out the milk for free, he'll never buy the cow!
The author would also like to remind you that women, you'll never find love and marriage if you keep putting out so easily:
Yes, sex is clearly cheap for men. Women's "erotic capital," as Catherine Hakim of the London School of Economics has dubbed it, can still be traded for attention, a job, perhaps a boyfriend, and certainly all the sex she wants, but it can't assure her love and lifelong commitment. Not in this market. It's no surprise that the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds who are married has shrunk by an average of 1 percent each year this past decade.
This is just ... what? Am I reading this wrong, or is he also implying that women are trading sex to get jobs, too? And that giving out the milk for free isn't going to find her love and a husband? And that men only marry women to have sex? I thought they could just watch porn and masturbate for that?
The overarching theme is that sex is a commodity that women "sell" to gain long-term commitment from men, but the pickings are so slim these days that women are willing to "sell" their bodies without even asking for things like flowers and jewelry and marriage in return, which is a "win" for men but a "loss" for women -- yeah, that's sexist and misguided on a bunch of levels. It also takes agency away from women by implying that they wouldn't choose any non-Disney-princess-fairy-tale life, so they must be miserable, desperate, etc.
How about this: Young people are more open to casual sex than 30 years ago, when that "frequently cited" study was conducted. Young people aren't marrying as early because they go to college and settle into careers first. Young people cohabitate. Women aren't always on the prowl for a rich husband, because they can make their own money.
Or maybe I'm the one who is misinformed, and porn really is to blame for all of this.